People For the American Way

PFAW During the Coronavirus Pandemic

News and Analysis

Life has changed. We’re all now engaged in aggressive measures to protect public health and safety amid the coronavirus pandemic. And we’re all doing our best to operate on the most up-to-date information, which is changing rapidly.

Our hearts are with our members and supporters at this time, and we hope that you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy. Our thoughts are also with vulnerable communities that are likely to feel a disproportionate impact – especially economically – from this ongoing crisis. Seniors, low-income communities, the uninsured, communities of color, the disabled, and countless families across the country dealing with closed schools, family members in high-risk groups, and lost wages will depend on swift government action to offset the harm.

PFAW is pushing for Congress and state lawmakers to take all proper emergency measures to protect vulnerable Americans at this time, and to protect our democracy and the ability of all voters to cast ballots in this year’s critical elections.

We’re so grateful for your support and I want to assure you that, now more than ever, we’re taking every step possible to ensure that we remain firing on all cylinders during this historic election year.

With the health of our staff and volunteers in mind, we’ve moved completely to telework and have added some powerful IT tools to our toolbox to make sure that we don’t miss a beat and that the work to defeat Trump and his far-right allies goes on.

That work – to restore the American Way by defeating Trump and Trump Republicans up and down the ballot, flipping the U.S. Senate, saving the Supreme Court and our judicial branch, and protecting fundamental rights – is more important and more urgent than ever, as we witness the epic failure of leadership that has been the Trump administration’s response to this crisis.

Our strategies will no doubt need to shift, but PFAW is built to be nimble and I’m confident that, together, we’ll be well equipped to reach and mobilize voters, combat misinformation, and score the major progressive electoral victories upon which the survival of our democracy and the American Way depend.

Unfortunately, while this should be a time for our country to come together, we know that some of our opponents on the Right will use this crisis as an opportunity to sow confusion, keep people from voting, and try to cement their grip on power.

Mitch McConnell, sensing that the administration’s response to this crisis could hurt Trump’s chances for reelection, is already encouraging federal judges to retire so he can fill their seats with unfit, extreme Trump-nominated replacements.

The Trump administration and right-wing media are recklessly using loaded, racist language about the coronavirus to support Trump’s phony anti-immigrant narratives, while we’re already seeing spikes in hate crimes against certain groups.

And the Radical Right is producing a particularly noxious fever swamp of conspiracy theories and anti-science paranoia that could threaten the public’s ability to get – and trust – the best information about how to keep themselves and others healthy. Coverage of this topic by PFAW’s Right Wing Watch was featured in yesterday’s New York Times. See: “On the Political Right, Anger and Suspicion Over Virus Precautions” (Times subscription possibly required).

This crisis is a stark reminder that it’s the Radical Right that now controls the levers of power in our federal government, thanks to appointments like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, and new White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and the unprecedented access granted to alt-right conspiracy theorists, Christian nationalists, and others by the Trump administration.

As Right Wing Watch is closely tracking, Radical Right con artists are already hard at work fleecing their own supporters with various curative snake oils. We blew the lid off of televangelist Jim Bakker’s attempts to sell a special silver solution as a sham coronavirus cure and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has been trying to sell a similar “cure” in the form of toothpaste.

And, of course, we know that in addition to protecting vulnerable communities from physical and economic strife, we need a heightened response to protect many of those same vulnerable communities from voter suppression and right-wing attempts to rig the census.

Together, we’ll get through this crisis. And, in the meantime, the work continues thanks to your support.

From all of us here at PFAW, THANK YOU. Please stay safe and stay healthy.

Michael Keegan, President

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